“Text Palimpsest Transcript:
Addie Bundren’s Corpus in As I Lay Dying


I. Pre-text

  William Faulkner appropriates the death of a woman in many of his works. For example, in As I Lay Dying (1930), the death of Addie Bundren generates the story of the Bundrens’ funeral journey toward Jefferson. Addie’s death functions as an axle that sets the wheels of the novel’s plot in motion. Faulkner himself, in an interview conducted in 1956, expresses his approbation for appropriating a woman’s “life.” “The writer’s only responsibility is to his art,” he declares and adds: “If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is worth any number of old ladies.” Referring to this quote, Deborah Clarke remarks, “the writer lives off—and ultimately kills off—‘his’ mother, as the initial robbery rapidly becomes a murder, with the poem’s ‘worth’ displacing and replacing that of the women.”1 In his personal life, Faulkner was willing to sacrifice his dear mother for “his art”; he was certainly more so in his fictional world, having committed the serial murders of old ladies. Faithful to his aesthetic creed, in As I Lay Dying, he kills Addie for the sake of story line.
   Murdering women in cultural representations has long been sanctified by Western poetics, as Edgar Allan Poe’s notorious comment exemplifies: “The death of a beautiful woman is, unquestionably, the most poetical topic in the world.” Such author-ial appropriation of women’s death is so pervasive that in the myriad corpuses of literature lie the countless female corpuses.2 “By dying,” according to Elisabeth Bronfen, “a beautiful Woman serves as the motive for the creation of an art work and as its object of representation” (71). A woman casts her life away to become a “source” for a male writer’s inspiration and thus to resume a beautiful new life, as a poetic “motif” or an “objet d’art”; her life before death is successfully replaced by the writer’s poetic rendition. While she is elevated to the status of Muse, she is robbed of sexuality and subjectivity, and of life, becoming a mere pre-text of/for the male writer’s work.
   Faulkner in As I Lay Dying, though he murders Addie, does not assign her the conventional role of a dead woman. On the contrary, the death of Addie, according to Edwin Muir, a contemporary reviewer of Faulkner, is “a curious theme.”3 Addie does not align herself with the beautiful dead, those who constitute Poe’s “the most poetical topic.” This article focuses on the death of Addie Bundren that deviates from the Western aesthetic tradition to demonstrate Faulkner’s unique (post)-modernist challenge to the Western art tradition. The first part of this article deals with Addie’s section, her signed “signature text,”4 where she confides the motive and premeditated plot of revenge. The second part examines Addie’s posthumous remains, her “corpus”: it trans-forms from the “body text” of revenge, into the “palimpsest” through communal subscription, and then into the “transcript” of Darl who rewrites Addie’s original text.5 The opposition of words and deeds foregrounded in Addie’s signature text will be played out on the “private” stage of Addie’s corpse, mirroring Faulkner’s struggle to overcome the distinction between representation and reality.

II. Signature Text: Addie’s Self-Inscription

   Addie Bundren spends most of the story being dead. Even before death, she suffers a premature dying and burial. Peabody comments on Addie in her sickbed, all covered with a quilt except her head, face, and hands (8), “She has been dead these ten days” (43). Addie, who dies after only a brief, shadowy appearance, cannot be called a fixed character in any conventional sense. Only in her posthumous “signature text,” not her intangible body on the bed, does she make her presence known to the reader. In the manuscript featuring the headline “Addie,” the narrator well documents the private life of Addie as a wife and mother, thus eloquently testifying to her life and the story before, which would otherwise be withheld from the reader of As I Lay Dying.
   Addie’s section, sometimes called Addie’s “monologue,” is prompted by the “talking” that Addie and Cora Tull had sometime after Jewel’s birth: “One day we were talking” (166); “One day I was talking to Cora” (176). Cora, who prides herself as a good Christian, is a spokeswoman of both Christianity and patriarchy: “Cora Tull speaks of the Christian view of the family, the Law of the Father” (Roberts 199). What characterizes Addie’s section is her refutation against Cora’s words that attempts to “fix” her: “And so when Cora Tull would tell me I was not a true mother, I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other [. . .]” (173). In Addie’s section, the juxtaposition of heavenly “words” and earthly “doing” as opposites gradually changes, according to her experiences of pregnancy, childbearing, and rearing, to the gendered antagonism between masculine, figurative language and feminine, literal language. In this trajectory is her revenge deeply intertwined. The narrator Addie, in her signature text, vows vengeance on the Word of God, choosing all prospective readers as her confidants.
   Addie’s first-time experience of childbearing and rearing teaches her of the arbitrary relationship between signifier and signified: “When he [Cash] was born I knew that motherhood was invented by someone who had to have a word for it” (171). In acknowledging that the word “motherhood” designates some ideal, otherworldly meaning, thus causing an irreconcilable split between “a true mother” (173) and a real mother, Addie resents “all men” for bearing not children but words. Thus, when she learns the second pregnancy, she hates Anse’s “manliness” so intensely as to want to kill him.
   Yet, the second pregnancy brings Addie another “awakening”:

But then I realized that I had been tricked by words older than Anse or love, and that the same word had tricked Anse too, and that my revenge would be that he would never know I was taking revenge. And when Darl was born I asked Anse to promise to take me back to Jefferson when I died, because I knew that father had been right, even when he couldn’t have known he was right anymore than I could have known I was wrong.
“Nonsense,” Anse said; “you and me aint nigh done chapping yet, with just two.” (172-73)

She thus states, but several questions arise from this puzzling passage. First, what exactly were those “words older than Anse or love” that had deceived both Anse and herself? Second, why the recognition of “trick” impelled her to make Anse promise to bury her at the cemetery in Jefferson? Thirdly, in what sense does the long distance burial constitute Addie’s revenge? Last but not least, what is Addie’s father to do with the revenge? Clues to the answers to these questions are provided elsewhere in her signature text.
   In her section, Addie mentions that Anse calls the unspeakable “it,” sexual desire or sex, “love.” Also, in Cora’s section placed right before Addie’s, Cora reports that she has interpreted to Addie “many a time” the Word of God: “God gave you children to comfort your hard human lot and for a token of His own suffering and love, for in love you conceived and bore them” (166). The translation of the Word by Anse and Cora—her sexual conduct as “love” and the resultant pregnancy as “the annunciation”—deprives Addie of sexuality and subjectivity. Behind the words of Anse and Cora lurks the complicity between Christianity and patriarchy, securing the patriarchal structure of the Christian community, modeled after the “universal” hierarchy of God the Father at its apex. Addie, therefore, with the second pregnancy, recognizes the rhetoric/re-trick of the “words older than Anse or love”—the long-lived Word of God in the community—that appropriates her procreative power not to threaten God’s author-ity or subvert the patriarchal system.
   The “axiom” of her father—“the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time” (169)—represents precisely the “words older that Anse or love,” the Word of God. The Word sets a moral guideline for Addie to lead a faithful Christian life, based on the doctrine of a glorious afterlife. In cruder terms it may be rephrased, “do good deeds to earn favor in God’s eyes and pay for the ticket to heaven.” Cora, who “[has] tried to live right in the sight of God and man, for the honor and comfort of [her] Christian husband and the love and respect of [her] Christian children” (23), endorses this hereditary wisdom. She urges Addie to pray for salvation, for her “conduct is not pleasing to Him” (166); she also reminds her, “life is short enough [. . .] to win eternal grace in” (168). Addie, who told Anse that her relatives were not in heaven but “in the cemetery” (171), had not believed in this Christian ideology when Anse proposed her. But in the above-quoted riddling passage, at Darl’s birth, she affirms her father’s words: “I knew that father had been right.” With the recognition of the “trick” of the Word on one hand and the affirmation of the Word on the other, she tries to pre-arrange her burial in Jefferson as a revenge against “he”: “and that my revenge would be that he would never know I was taking revenge.” The pronoun “he,” in my opinion, refers not to Anse but rather to her father, or by extension, to He.6
   The pre-arrangement of the burial seems, at first glance, an obedient gesture “to get ready to stay dead,” dutifully complying with the father’s instruction; however, the burial 40 miles away from the Bundren farm is a serious digression from the role of a wife/mother. In fact, Cora, after Addie’s death, accuses her arrangement of a long distance burial as a violation of the code: “A woman’s place is with her husband and children, alive or dead” (23). Following the mere surface of the words but not the “deep” meaning beneath, she will covertly get back at the patriarchs: Anse, her father, and the Father. At that time, however, Anse, the instrument of her revenge, derailed her plan, calling the promise “nonsense.”
   Addie thus seeks a swift revenge upon the patriarchal Christianity by committing adultery with the minister Whitfield. Addie, who now agrees with the premise of her father’s words, the belief in afterlife, imagines that the adultery with the one who speaks the Word of God constitutes a serious transgression from the Law of the Father: “the sin the more utter and terrible since he was the instrument ordained by God [. . .]” (174). Whitfield, whose “words” she believes “are the deeds,” nonetheless speaks “the other words that are not deeds” (174). His performative utterance, without any relevant action nor authorization, just as his confession framed before the absence of Anse is, is an empty performance—“the forlorn echo of the dead word high in the air” (175). His fraudulent gesture of the performative leaves Addie alone with her attempted revenge, and with Jewel.
The birth of Jewel, “the one she labored so to bear” (21), brings Addie the final “revelation,” which enlightens the route to revenge. She asserts that “at last” she understands the “real” meaning of her father’s words, again in her “cryptic” language:

My father said that the reason for living is getting ready to stay dead. I knew at last what he meant and that he could not have known what he meant himself, because a man cannot know anything about cleaning up the house afterward. And so I have cleaned my house. With Jewel—I lay by the lamp, holding up my own head, watching him [Peabody] cap and suture it before he breathed—the wild blood boiled away and the sound of it ceased. Then there was only the milk, warm and calm, and I lying calm in the slow silence, getting ready to clean my house. (175-76)

Here, the phrase “cleaning up the house afterward,” which she claims men know nothing about, does not designates a figurative meaning such as “settling one’s affairs”; rather, it says what it says. After breastfeeding the newborn son, she cleaned the house, possibly the undesirable yet unavoidable by-products of the delivery at home, because all men in the household are helpless. One may better understand the situation by taking into account that the delivery was very difficult compared to the previous two. Addie, at this moment, realizes the discrepancy between male words and female deeds occurs in the slippage between the figurative language and its metaphorical meaning. She tries to fill the gap, by translating his words into her deed. Interpreting her father’s words literally, she now knows the “real” meaning of his words that he could not have known. The revenge lies in “the literalization of figures,”7 where Addie actualizes Father’s figure of speech literally, as she “stay[s] dead a long time.”
After Addie’s death, the Bundrens sets out for Jefferson following the Word of Mother. The subsequent deferral of the burial, which represents to some critics and readers a harsh reprisal for Addie’s revenge, is actually opportune for its realization; for, Addie can “stay dead a long time” for the duration of nine days, challenging the Word of God unbeknown to Him. Her body text, scribbling the process of decay in real time, where the signifier “Addie” refers back to Addie the real, should become her self-inscription.

III. Addie’s Corpus: Text Palimpsest Transcript

   Addie’s revenge relies on the Bundrens’ lack of skill and money “to fix [embalm]” her. Samson points out to his wife Rachel “about them not having a regular man to fix her and it being July and all [. . .]” (114). Instead, the neighborhood women and Darl attempt to fix Addie’s defiant body that automatically inscribes the reality of death. Addie’s vengeful corpse, her “text” supposedly makes an entry of “the real Addie,” will be transformed to a “palimpsest” with the communal sub-scription, and then to a “transcript” with Darl’s de-scription; thus each attaching one’s signature to her body text. In due course of time, though it receives retribution, her corpse nevertheless exacts revenge for the Word of God in a more dire way than Addie had “originally” intended. The “remains” of Addie becomes a site/sight where parody and paradox intersect.
   It is the role of neighborhood women to prepare the body and place it inside a coffin. Those women, with their good intentions, “redress” Addie with her old wedding dress, trying to send her to heaven as a good Christian wife/mother. With this redressing the funeral ceremony becomes a second performance of Addie’s wedding with Anse: Addie, with the mask of maiden bride, lies down submissively, waiting for Anse to take her to Jefferson; Anse, whose “face is different” (86), (re)-gains the dignity of a patriarch. Moreover, directed by Cora who knows that “[Addie] had never been pure religious” (166), it is a play that represents a good “Christian death” (24), staging the approaching union with Christ at the gate of heaven, the promise of a glorious afterlife.8
   Of course, this performance is a masquerade. Seen through the meshes of Addie’s veil are “the auger holes in her face” (88). The sub-scription of women in the community ironically unveils, as in a palimpsest, the reality of Addie’s body beneath her disguise. The make-up of innocence and chastity, which they apply with a used garment and makeshift veil, proves a disastrous failure. The theatrical attributes make Addie appear as a shoddy imitation of the Bride of Christ, manifesting the fact that she is at the opposite pole of what those women wished to impose on her. The figure of Addie, laid out in a reversed position, displays the parody and paradox of the redressing conducted by her female neighbors.
   The male attendants, on the other hand, stay at the “threshold”9 of the Bundren house during the funeral ceremony. Anse associates the “feminine” qualities of horizontality, fluidity, and animality with death (35-37), whose belief is aptly summarized in the phrase—“if he ever sweats, he will die” (17). The corpse, gradually losing its contour, is the Feminine that disseminates death, disregarding the “masculine” values of “borders, positions, rules”; thus, those men attending her funeral safely distance themselves from Addie’s body, which “disturbs identity, system, order” (Kristeva 4), to maintain their masculinity intact.
   Only Darl, who does not attend the funeral, approaches Addie inside the coffin with his poetic imagination. He who declares “I cannot love my mother because I have no mother” (95) is a parody of the poet Orpheus, who attempts to retrieve his beloved wife Eurydice from Hades only to kill her for the second time by looking back. Darl, who looks forward, “the seer,” tries to bring his mother back from “post-discursive reality” (Clarke 49) to the realm of words.
   Addie in her deathbed is broadcast live by Darl who is off-site. He (re)-presents her passing not as the linear passage from life to death but as the mythic cycle of death and rebirth: Dewey Dell, as Gabriel Schwab notes, “literally buries” (qtd. Clarke 41) her mother under her body; the corpse quickly finishes the process of decomposition, leaving behind “the handful of rotten bones” (49); and then, “her peaceful, rigid face” (50) begins “to wake a little into an expression of listening and of waiting” (50). Darl thus transcribes the “passage” of Addie. Unlike the transparent veil of the community, Darl’s is “a casting of fading bronze” (51); this death mask is ostensibly cast as a faithful replica of Addie’s face.
   Furthermore, Darl depicts Addie’s presumably decaying body inside the coffin as follows: “For an instant it resists, as though volitional, as though within it her pole-thin body clings furiously, even though dead, to a sort of modesty, as she would have tried to conceal a soiled garment that she could not prevent her body soiling” (97-98). Here, the “erotic” (Woodbery 39) image he imbues Addie with transforms the reality of decomposition into a conventional poetic motif of the loss of virginity. The repeated usage of “as though” indicates that Darl’s de-scription of Addie is a pastiche of clichés and stereotypes; nonetheless, these figures of speech attempt to usurp the inscription of Addie’s body text. Though the reader may be blinded by the trick of Darl’s “clairvoyance,” Darl’s representation of Addie above, together with her deathbed scene, is not endorsed by the reality of Addie. She thus resentfully hovers in an elusive yet persistent figure, transforming its shape from an odor to a buzzard, as if to claim the author-ity of the original. Unless he successfully destroys the body text by throwing it into the river or into flames, Darl cannot submit his transcript as the definitive text.
   Under the apple tree, Darl forges Addie’s signature, rewriting her “original” intention of exacting revenge against the Word of God. Her confidential talk with the reader, a “little trickling burst of secret and murmurous bubbling” (212), is misinterpreted to Varadaman as her private talk with God, her plea for salvation (214). By setting fire to the barn, Darl tries to send her to heaven “literally” with the smoke ascending upward. Darl’s attempted barn barning is his attempted murder of Addie, to kill her for the second time. But this time, he tries to bury her not under his words but under his deed. When Addie’s revenge was about to be reversed by him, Jewel hinders his cause and offers a hand “to fix him” (233). Transforming from the poet who commands “words” to the arsonist who commits the “deed,” Darl becomes a copy of Addie. Just as “the state’s money [. . .] is incest” (254), they are two sides of the same coin, one looking backward and the other forward, laughing at the Law of the Father.
   Following the Word of Mother, the Bundrens make Addie’s state of long-dead “a shocking public spectacle” (Wadlington 29) on their way to Jefferson, unwittingly avenging for their mother. Lula, outraged at the public display, prosecutes Anse, “He should be lawed for treating her so” (187). Indeed, the conduct of the Bundrens infringes the law: “Don’t you know you’re liable to jail for endangering the public health?” (204). Under the Law of the Father, according to Julia Kristeva, mortal remains “must not be displayed but immediately buried so as not to pollute the divine earth”; moreover, “it is to be excluded from God’s territory as it is from his speech” (109). The remains of Addie, however, literally remains above the ground, trespassing from the realm of death into the lives of the people in the neighborhood community, thrusting the reality of death literally under their noses. Thus, “her body threaten[s] the clean, law-abiding community with its destructive power” (Tanaka 192). Posthumously, Addie realizes the revenge against the Word of God, by becoming an “abject”: “the opposite of the spiritual, of the symbolic, and of divine law” (Kristeva 109).
   However that may be, though, the plot of As I Lay Dying aims at the burial of Addie in Jefferson, her final disappearance from the earth. As the story proceeds, Addie’s corpse increases “its destructive power” but instead loses the reality of its solid existence, since the course of narrative represents the “passage”—in both senses of the word—of its de-composition. It is always made ambiguous as to whether it is really the “remains” that leaves the odor behind or the reproduction of the eyewitnesses, Samson and Armstid, who imagine it does. Moreover, Moseley, who hears secondhand about the corpse thus far “had been dead eight days,” creates the stench—“It must have been like a piece of rotten cheese coming into an ant-hill [. . .]” (203)—and be vexed with it until the next day. Addie, freed from the burden of material existence, is now like a ghost that wanders about the community.
   Near the end of the novel the anonymous black man, with his head instantly turned to the Bundren wagon, cries out—“Great God [. . .] what they got in that wagon?” (229). The phrase feebly refers back to the source that emits the odor, the fleeting evidence of something “is” indeed inside the Bundren wagon; but before long, the trace will be lost in the air, the testimony becoming a hollow sounding claim bearing witness to what “was” once inside the wagon. The blank space left within the coffin pictograph in Tull’s section (88), however, illustrates the non-existence of Addie Bundren in As I Lay Dying from beginning to end. There are no eyewitnesses to Addie inside the coffin, since it is never being exposed to the public eye in a literal sense. Thus, the character Addie is always already absent and left to the reader to imagine; yet, the “realness” of such imagination is an illusion of the realist novels, verisimilitude, what Roland Barthes elsewhere calls “l’effet de réel,” an empty gesture toward the real. Faulkner, who kills Addie under false pretense of realism, deliberately induces cracks in his fragile façade of mimetic representation and finally leaves it to be ruined, playing with the often-confused distinction between the virtual and the actual. In a modernist attempt against the convention of the Word, Faulkner was well ahead of his time, anticipating a new mode of postmodernism.

IV. Postscript

   As the story draws to close, Darl is sent offstage and in turn Cash appears on the scene to report the burial of Addie. Unlike Darl’s poetic rendition, Cash uses the exact wording: “we got it filled and covered” (237). The rustic simplicity of Cash’s words evokes the non-memory of Addie’s burial ceremony, leaving one wondering if Addie would rest in peace; but the loss is to be swiftly supplemented by the second Mrs. Bundren, as if nothing happened. Moreover, the accessory of “talking-machine” now accompanies Mrs. Bundren, which plays mass-produced records “natural as a music-band” (235). Ahead of the burial, Cash imagines, “I don’t know if a little music aint about the nicest thing a fellow can have” (259). The implication here is that Mrs. Bundren is not a copy of the original but a copy of a copy, which surpasses the original in its proliferation, a “hyperreal.” Nevertheless, the second loss of Addie becomes the “trauma”10 of the readers; they browse through the pages to (re)-cover the “original” behind the copies, longing for what is absent—the real—in As I Lay Dying. However, the gap indicated at the center of Addie’s section—“The shape of my body where I used to be a virgin is in the shape of a ” (173)—testifies to the impossibility of locating the “source” of its reproduction.
   Yet, Addie’s section is indeed a prescription of Faulkner, inserted in his signature text, As I Lay Dying. When one comes to the section captioned “Addie,” one endows the narrator with legitimacy, designating her as the one who knows Addie best, thus authorizing the caption to exercise the effect of a signature. The section, which now becomes Addie’s signature text, does not “re-present” Addie who supposedly died at the outset of the novel; instead, it makes her readers “simulate” their original Addie out of absence. Thus, the glorious afterlife of Addie, who pre-scribes “I would be I,” is promised by the act of prospective readers, their “translation with no original” that “reproduces not an original text, but an afterlife cloned from the (lost) life of the original.”11 Literally exposed to the public eye, Addie will be resurrected from death, be brought back to As I Lay Dying in an endless simulation. Addie’s revenge will be fulfilled belatedly, when she appears in real time as the embodiment of “narrator-character” in the simulated world of Addie’s section, where the line separating word/deed, figurative/literal, representation/reality no longer exists. As Addie lays dying, the community of mourners add their own signatures to Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.
   Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying is a parody of Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn.” Keats’s “unravish’d bride of quietness” reposes motionless in “Silence and slow Time,” petrified eternally as a beautiful object of the poet. On the other hand, caught in the spiral cycle of death and rebirth, Addie is in constant motion without resorting to any fixed version, appearing suddenly like a mirage, whenever the pages are turned in accelerating pace, amid the hustle-bustle of a postmodern world. Just as the phonograph needle of Mrs. Bundren will automatically track the courses of spiral record grooves playing different tunes one after another, Faulkner’s pre-scription repeatedly plays back auto-referentially: on the meta-narrative level, it demonstrate his own challenge against the performative speech of God (Logos); on the narrative level, it performs the stories of Addie’s corpus with many variations.


1. Deborah Clarke regards Faulkner’s bargaining of women “a movement from body to language, literal to figurative, semiotic to symbolic, feminine to masculine.” Despite this transition she sees the positive side of matricide: “as a source,” a mother regains “a certain power to generate poetic language” (7). The assumption of this article, however, is that designating a woman as Muse is a pretext of Western poetics to disguise the violence inherent in its representation.
2. Poe’s words are from “Philosophy of Composition”; quoted in Elizabeth Bronfen, Over Her Dead Body (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1992) 71. She also points out that the double meaning of the word “corpus” is not coincidental (71).
3. Muir 371. Many of the early studies labeled Addie as a masculine, un-motherly woman. On the other hand, after the 1970s, some scholars, including Birns, Gladstein, Hewson, and Samway, sublimated Addie as the Feminine. In either case, these critical discourses reproduce the paradigm of death-femininity-beauty, which Bronfen convincingly explored in Over Her Dead Body.
4. According to Jacques Derrida, the signature itself, in its citability, can be cut out from the original source: “In order to function, that is, to be readable, a signature must have a repeatable, iterable, imitable form: it must be able to be detached from the present and singular intention of its production” (20).
5. Ikuko Fujihira demonstrates Faulkner’s characterization of female characters as a “palimpsest,” tracing back to the body text of Joe-Addie.
6. It may sound far-fetched, as pronouns always refer back to the antecedents. But Faulkner’s pronoun usage often breaks this conventional grammatical rule, referring to the subsequent proper names or to elsewhere. Another example in Addie’s section is where she abruptly switches the referent of the pronoun “he” from Anse to Whitfield: “And then he [Anse] died. He did not know he was dead. I would lie by him [Whitfield] in the dark, hearing the dark land talking of God’s love and His beauty and His sin” (174). According to Jill Bergman, “the act of tracing the referents for these unassigned pronouns can lead to a fuller understanding of Addie and her story” (Footnote 5). My reading of Addie’s section owes very much to her detailed reading of Addie’s section, which unravels the mystery of the pronoun “it.”
7. Deborah Clarke, following Margaret Homans’s concept of “the literalization of figures,” points out the realization of Addie’s words—“He will save me from the water and from the fire”—as an example of such instance. She argues, “Addie’s literalization rewrites the Word of God, and thus constitutes a serious challenge to patriarchal discourse” (48).
8. The Christian concept of “good death,” according to Bronfen, envisages “heaven as the place of a future reunion with her family and friends” and as “the place of a union with Christ, her ‘bridegroom’” (91).
9. Christopher Lalonde points out that “[t]hroughout Faulkner’s fiction door and window frames symbolize either the threshold into liminality or the liminal space itself” (73). Also, Gail L. Mortimer notes that “[t]he distinction between the male’s need for boundaries (words, rituals, reified concepts) and the female’s affinity with flowing, touching, doing, and being is a very real one for Faulkner’s characters” (246).
10. Jean Baudrillard argues that “the great trauma,” in a simulation age, “is this decline of strong referentials, these death pangs of the real and the rational [. . .]” (43). Thus, “as nostalgia for lost referential” we conjure up “hyperreal” (44).
11. Emily Apter The Translation Zone (Princeton: Princeton UP, 2006) 225. Exploring the ethical issues concerning translations with no originals, Apter finds the overlap between the translation forgery—the translation “from a kind of ‘test tube’ text of simulated originality” (213)—and Walter Benjamin’s extremist definition of translation, which she summarizes, “as a technology of literary replication that engineers textual afterlife without recourse to a genetic origin” (225). In As I Lay Dying, Darl hopes for such translation in his de-scription of Addie; the prospective readers, on the other hand, unwittingly, will provide their own translations of (Addie) in the act of reading.

Works Cited:

Apter, Emily. The Translation Zone. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2006.
Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Trans. Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor: The U of Michigan P, 1994.
Bergman, Jill. “‘This was the Answer to It’: Sexuality and Maternity in As I Lay Dying.” Mississippi Quarterly 49 (1996): 393-407.
Birns, Magaret Boe. “Demeter as the letter D: Naming Women in The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying.” Women’s Studies 22 (1992-93): 533-41.
Bronfen, Elizabeth. Over Her Dead Body: Death, Femininity and the Aesthetic. Manchester: Manchester UP, 1992.
Clarke, Deborah. Robbing the Mother: Women in Faulkner. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 1994.
Derrida, Jacques. “Signature Event Context.” Limited Inc. Trans. Samuel Weber and Jeffrey Mehlman. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern UP, 1988.
Faulkner, William. As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text. New York: Vintage, 1985.
Fowler, Doreen. “The Displaced Mother: As I Lay Dying.” Faulkner: The Return of the Repressed. Charlottesville: UP of Virginia, 1997. 49-63.
Fujihira, Ikuko. “Joh=Adi-kyadi-nanshi・fukugoutai [Joe=Addie-Caddy-Nancy
Complex] ” Faulkner 4 (2002): 65-76.
Gladstein, Mimi R. “Mothers and Daughters in Endless Procession: Faulkner’s Use of the Demeter/Persephone Myth.” Faulkner and Women. Ed. Dowleen Fowler and Ann J. Abadie. Jackson: UP of Mississippi. 1985. 100-111.
Hewson, Marc. “My Children Were of Me Alone’: Maternal Influence in Fulkner’s As I Lay Dying.” Mississippi Quarterly 53 (2000): 551-67.
Kristeva, Julia. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Trans. Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia UP, 1982.
Lalonde, Christopher A. “As I Lay Dying: Economization of Loss.” William Faulkner and the Rites of Passage. Macon, Georgia: Mercer UP, 1996. 65-94.
Mortimer, Gail L. “Significant Absences: Faulkner’s Rhetoric of Loss.” Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Vol. 14, No. 3. (Spring, 1981): 232-250.
Muir, Edwin. “New Novels” The Listener, 16 October 1935: 681. Rep. in William Faulkner: Critical Assessments. Vol. 2. Ed. Henry Claridge. Mountfield, East Sussex: Helm Information, 1999. 371-72.
Roberts, Diane. “Mothers and Motherhood.” Faulkner and Southern Womanhood. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1994. 186-223.
Samway, Patrick S. J. “Addie’s Continued Presence in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.” Southern Literature and Literary Theory. Ed. Jefferson Humphries. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990.
Tanaka, Takako. “Funeral Processions in As I Lay Dying and Go Down, Moses.” History and Memory in Faulkner’s Novels. Ed. Ikuko Fujihira, Noel Polk, Hisao Tanaka. 185-202. 2005.
Wadlington, Warwick. “What Kind of Book Is This?: Outrage and Family Secrets.” As I Lay Dying: Stories Out of Stories. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1992.
Woodbery, Bonnie. “The Abject in Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying.” Literature and Psychology 40.3 (1994): 26-42.

Copyright (c) 2008 Yuko Yamamoto